Financial Aid F.A.Qs
Financial Aid F.A.Q. Topics
Financial Aid Application FAQs
Q. Do I need to complete my income tax return before I complete a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. While it is recommended that you complete your tax return prior to filling out your
FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, it is not essential. You can fill out the FAFSA or
CA Dream Act Application using estimated information from your W-2; however, take care
in estimating your figures. Any large discrepancies between your FAFSA or CA Dream Act
Application and your tax return may have a large impact on any Financial Aid award you receive.
Q. When am I considered an independent student?
A. In order to be considered as an independent student for Financial Aid purposes, you must meet
one of the following criteria:
- Be 24 years of age or older;
- Be married;
- Be enrolled in a graduate or professional degree program;
- Be currently serving on active duty in the U.S. Armed Forces;
- Be a veteran of U.S. Armed Forces;
- Have children who receive more than half of their support from you;
- Have dependents other than your children or spouse;
- Be a dependent/ward of the court or be in foster care;
- Be an emancipated minor;
- Be in legal guardianship;
- Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless determined by high school or district liaison;
- Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless determined by the director of an emergency shelter
or transitional housing;
- Be an unaccompanied youth/homeless or at risk of being homeless determined by the
director of a runaway or homeless youth basic center.
Q. Do I have to reapply for Financial Aid every year?
A. Yes. You need to apply for Financial Aid every year. If your financial circumstances change, you
may get more or less aid. After your first year you will receive an email reminder from the federal
processor or CA Student Aid Commission. Note that your eligibility for Financial Aid
may change significantly, especially if you have a different number of family members
in college. Renewal of your Financial Aid also depends on your making Satisfactory
Progress (SP) toward a degree, such as earning a minimum number of credits and achieving
a minimum GPA. Please visit the website http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_progress.php
to get the details of our SP policy.
Q. How do I know if I need to submit any additional documents to the Financial Aid Office once I have
completed my FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
Once you have submitted your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, you should log in to your
MyPortal account regularly and check your Financial Aid requirements. You can click on
the Requirements Messages link to print the required forms or transfer to the required
websites. After all your requirements have been received, allow 3-4 weeks for the
review process to be completed. Be warned - during the peak period (May-October)
it may take as long as 6-8 weeks to process your documents. Keep checking back to look
for your Financial Aid award or other requirements posted during the review process.
Q. Will my enrollment status affect the amount of Pell Grant that I receive?
A. Yes. Your Pell Grant refund will get prorated based on the number of units in which
you are enrolled for the quarter. For example, you will receive 100% of the Pell Grant
if you are a FULL-TIME STUDENT (attempting 12 or more units); 75% of the Pell Grant if
you are a THREE-QUARTER-TIME STUDENT (attempting 9 - 11.9 units); 50% of the Pell Grant
if you are a HALF-TIME STUDENT (attempting 6 - 8.9 units); less than 50% of the Pell Grant
if you are enrolled in less than 6 units.
Q. What does the red flag on MyPortal (Financial Aid tab) mean?
A. If you have a red flag on your Financial Aid tab, that is an alert that you need to
submit paperwork or that submitted paperwork is either incomplete or not yet reviewed.
Click on the Requirements Messages link to view the requirement status. After all your
requirements have been received, allow 3-4 weeks for the review process to be completed.
Be warned - during the peak period (May-October) it may take as long as 6-8 weeks to
process your documents. Keep checking back to look for your Financial Aid award or other
requirements posted during the review process.
Q. How long will it take for the red flag on my MyPortal
(Financial Aid tab) to switch to green?
A. After all your requirements have been received, allow approximately 2 weeks for the review process
to be completed. Be warned - during the peak period (June-October) it may take as long as
3-4 weeks to process your documents. Keep checking back to look for your Financial Aid
award or other requirements posted during the review process.
Q. How do I know when my Financial Aid funds are scheduled to disburse?
A. Every quarter has scheduled disbursement dates, which are posted on www.foothill.edu/aid
However, if your file is still incomplete and your Financial Aid award has not been
packaged by the scheduled disbursement date, it would disburse on one of the following
Mondays of the quarter. Depending on which "refund option" you have chosen with Higher
One bank, disbursed funds are available to students approximately one week after disbursement.
A. You will need to complete a "Petition for Over Average Timeframe" if you have attempted 120
units or have received a degree from any college or universities, including outside of United States. Available from our homepage foothill.edu/aid
Q. What are the most common reasons for a student to be on
Financial Aid warning or disqualification?
A. If a student fails to meet the requirements for either the Completed units or Quarterly
GPA OR Cumulative GPA that student may be placed on warning or disqualification. Please visit
our website at http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_progress.php
to get the details of our Satisfactory
Academic Policy (SAP).
Top of page
General Financial Aid FAQs
Q. Why should I apply for Financial Aid?
A. Financial Aid is made available to assist students and families in meeting
the costs of a postsecondary education. If you believe you will need assistance
in meeting those costs, you should apply for Financial Aid.
Q. I've been out of school a long time. I'm not ready to be a full-time student,
but I still need help with college costs. Is there any aid for me?
A. You don't have to be a full-time student to receive Financial Aid. At California
Community Colleges, there is no unit requirement for enrollment fee waivers through
the Board of Governors Fee Waiver Program. To receive assistance from the other state
and federal programs, you can take as few as six units and still qualify for Financial Aid
as long as you are taking classes towards an AA/AS degree or a certificate.
Q. If I am not a U.S. Citizen, am I still eligible to apply for Financial Aid?
A. To be eligible for federal and/or state aid, a student must be a U.S. citizen, an eligible
noncitizen or an AB540 student. For Financial Aid purpose, an eligible non-citizen is one of the following:
- a U.S. permanent resident who has an Alien Registration Receipt Card (I-551);
- a conditional permanent resident (I-551C);
- a non-citizen with an Arrival-Departure record (I-94) from the U.S. Citizenship
and Immigration Services with one of the following designations - "Refugee," "Asylum Granted," "Parole," or "Cuban-Haitian Entrant."
Student who are residing in the United States with an F-1 or F-2 student visa or a G series
visa are not eligible for federal or state Financial Aid. To review criteria for AB540 students,
please visit http://www.foothill.edu/aid/fa_dream.php.
Q. I probably don't qualify for aid because of family finances. Should I submit a financial aid application anyway?
A. Yes. Even though you may not think you qualify for aid, you should at least
complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application. The application is free and the
college uses it to assess your eligibility for some scholarships and non-need-based
loans, including the unsubsidized and PLUS loans.
Q. How do I get Financial Aid?
A. To receive Financial Aid you must apply for it. The biggest mistake students make is
to not apply because they don't think they'll qualify. To apply for federal, state and
college Financial Aid programs, you need to complete a FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application,
and for the Cal Grant program you must submit a GPA verification by March 2nd. Foothill
College automatically submits the GPA of all students who have completed at least 24 units
and have a valid Social Security Number in their Foothill student record. You may also be
requested to submit additional documents such as tax return transcripts to complete your
Financial Aid file so please respond immediately to all requests made by the Financial
Aid Office. To check your Financial Aid status, go to your MyPortal.fhda.edu.
Q. If I don't qualify for need-based aid, what options are available?
A. If you are not eligible for need-based Financial Aid, many options are still available. One option is to look for merit-based scholarships, which consider academic or other talents. Additionally, you may consider borrowing through the unsubsidized loan program, or having your parents borrow through the PLUS program.
Q. My neighbor got more grants than I did. Why?
A. A student's eligibility for Financial Aid is based upon a number of factors, including the size of your family, how many members of the family are in college, how close your parents are to retirement, and, of course, family resources (income and assets). Even though your family's circumstances may appear to be very similar to your neighbor's, there may be substantial differences in the components used to calculate Financial Aid eligibility. One of the most common differences is meeting deadlines. Missing a deadline could substantially impact the amount of grant aid for which you may be eligible.
Q. I filled out the financial aid application. How do I find out the results?
A. You can fill out and submit your application through FAFSA on the Web at www.fafsa.ed.gov
or CA Dream Act Application on the web at www.caldreamact.org. Electronic filing is the fastest
and easiest way to apply for financial aid. After submitting your application, you should receive
a Student Aid Report (SAR) from the processor through the Internet. The SAR will list all of the
information you put on your application. This information also is forwarded to the colleges you
indicated to receive copies of the information. Once the colleges receive the information and
verify it with any additional documents you submitted at their request, they will notify you
of your aid eligibility or send you a letter requesting additional information.
Q. I completed the FAFSA over a month ago, but I haven't received anything back. What should I do?
A. First, you would need to contact the Financial Aid Office at Foothill College. If the office has not received your FAFSA information then you can call the federal processor at 1-800-433-3243. You will need to provide your Social Security Number and date of birth as verification.
Q. I completed a CA Dream Act Application over a month ago, but I haven't received anything back. What should I do?
A. First, you would need to contact the Financial Aid Office at Foothill College. If the office
has not received your application information then you can call the processor at 1-888-224-7268.
You will need to provide some information like date of birth for verification.
Q. What happens if I have academic or other problems and have to drop classes or drop out of college entirely?
A. If you have to drop a class it may affect your eligibility for Financial Aid for the current term or future terms. Review the information on your college's enrollment requirements and satisfactory academic progress standards and check with the Financial Aid Office to ensure you aren't jeopardizing your Financial Aid eligibility. If you have to drop out or withdraw from college, you may be expected to repay a portion of the Financial Aid that was disbursed for that term. If you withdraw, some of the funds paid to the college for your fees, tuition, or other charges may be refundable. If you received Financial Aid, refunds must first be returned to the Financial Aid programs according to federal regulations and other program guidelines. Check with the college about procedures for withdrawing or taking a leave of absence and be sure to consult with the Financial Aid Office about refunds, repayments of Financial Aid funds, and your future eligibility to enroll and receive Financial Aid funds.
Q. If I register for classes and take the Financial Aid but don't attend classes, what happens?
A. Your eligibility for Financial Aid is based on your enrollment and making satisfactory academic progress toward a degree or certificate. If you don't attend classes, you probably will not receive a passing grade. Failure to complete course work or document an effort to do so (e.g., participating in classes or completing assignments and exams) can result in the determination that you were not in fact enrolled and therefore not entitled to receive Financial Aid. All Financial Aid would need to be returned and you might be subject to charges for fees, tuition, and other amounts due the college. Besides facing these financial obligations, your academic records and ability to return to the college could be adversely impacted.
Q. I've thought about Financial Aid before, but I don't want to have
a big debt hanging over my head when I leave college. Can I get Financial Aid now that I don't have to pay back later?
A. Most Financial Aid is money that doesn't have to be repaid. Grants, part-time employment
and scholarships make up a large portion of annual aid received by students at most colleges
or universities. If you apply early, chances are that a significant amount of your financial
need can be met with aid that doesn't have to be repaid. On January 1st of every year, an updated
FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application become available to students applying for an upcoming academic year.
Q. Lots of students need financial help. How can I be sure that I'll get any money?
A. It's true many students apply for Financial Aid. To make sure your application receives best consideration, apply early. For Cal Grants, you must apply by March 2nd. For other aid, you must complete a FAFSA early (preferably during the month of January) in order to be guaranteed the best possible funding and to make sure you have assistance at the start of college.
Q. I am not a high school graduate. Can I still get Financial Aid?
A. Students without high school diplomas who are 18 years old can qualify for Financial Aid if they have a GED, or other high school proficiency certificate. They can also demonstrate readiness for college by taking a standardized Ability To Benefit test.
Q. I am not a California resident, but I am a resident of another state.
Can I still receive Financial Aid at a California Community College?
A. Yes. There are a wide variety of federal, institutional and scholarship programs for which you may qualify. You may also contact admissions office of the community college you plan to attend for more information about non-resident tuition fee.
Q. Do I need to be admitted before I can apply for Financial Aid?
A. No. You can apply for Financial Aid any time after January 1. To actually receive funds, however, you must be admitted and enrolled in classes first.
Q. What is EFC?
A. The Expected Family Contribution (EFC) is a measure of your family's financial strength
and is calculated according to a formula established by law. Your family's taxed and untaxed
income, assets, and benefits (such as unemployment or Social Security) are all considered in
the formula. Also considered are your family size and the number of family members who will
attend college or career school during the year.
The information you report on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application is used to calculate
your EFC. Schools use the EFC to determine your federal student aid eligibility and Financial Aid award.
Q. Can my Financial Aid disbursement be paid directly towards my fees at the Admissions Office?
A. Yes. As soon as your Financial Aid funds are disbursed, they can be put towards paying
the outstanding fees you have at the Admissions and Records Office. However, it is your
responsibility to pay your fees on time in order to avoid being dropped from classes.
Q. It is July and I am registering for all Fall Quarter classes
that begin at the end of September. I don't have money to pay for books. Can I get
my Financial Aid funds early, before classes start, so that I can buy my books?
A. No, you cannot receive Financial Aid funds before your file is complete and awarded;
before you register for classes or before the first scheduled disbursement of each quarter.
Top of page
BOG Fee Waiver Related FAQs
Q. What is a BOG Fee Waiver?
A. The Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver is funded by the State of California to
fully waive the enrollment fees charged to eligible California residents and AB 540
students who are attending community college. To determine your eligibility for the
BOG Fee Waiver, you need to complete either the FAFSA, if you are a U.S. citizen or
eligible non-citizen; the CA Dream Act if you fall into the category of AB 540 students;
or the BOG Fee Waiver application. To find more information or to apply for BOG, please
visit our website at www.foothill.edu/aid
Q. I've heard about waivers for the enrollment fee at
California Community Colleges, but I'm not on public assistance. Even so, I won't be able to afford
the per unit cost. What can I do?
A. You might qualify for an enrollment fee waiver if you meet certain income requirements
based on family size. There is a simple, one page application for the Board of Governors
Fee Waiver Program available online at any California Community College Financial Aid website
or you may contact any California Community College Financial Aid Office for more information.
Q. If I qualified for a BOG Fee Waiver at De Anza College,
how can I get it at Foothill College too?
A. If you qualified for the BOG Fee Waiver at one school, you can simply notify the
other school's Financial Aid Office to get your BOG Fee Waiver there as well.
Top of page
Frequently Asked Questions about AB 131 (California Dream Act II)
Context: AB 131, the "California Dream Act II" was signed by the Governor on October 7, 2011.
Q. What will AB 131 do?
A. AB 131 allows all students who qualify for AB 540 nonresident tuition exemptions, including
those who are undocumented, to apply for Cal Grant awards and for grants and scholarships
awarded by California public colleges and universities. This new law took effect on January 1, 2013
with respect to UC institutional aid Fall term of the 2013-14 school year with respect to Cal Grants.
Q. How is it different from AB 130?
A. A. AB 130 allows these students to apply only for grants and scholarships funded from
private sources. AB 131 will have a more meaningful impact on these students because it
makes them eligible for Cal Grants and for college grants and scholarships from other fund
sources, too. AB 130 took effect on January 1, 2012, while AB 131 took effect on January 1, 2013.
Q. Why do California colleges support AB 131?
A. California colleges believe that students who attended and graduated from high school in California, but
are not legal residents, should have access to higher education. These students are highly motivated to
succeed despite the obstacles they face. Through their hard work and perseverance, they have met the
academic standards required to attend college. Their accomplishments should not be disregarded or their
future jeopardized because of their immigration status. By allowing AB 540 students to apply for and
receive financial aid from California colleges, these bills help place these students on a more equal
footing with other needy students and would enhance their access to college.
Q. How many students will benefit under AB 131?
A. Colleges estimate that about 800 undergraduates who will qualify Cal Grant entitlement awards worth
about $7 million. Among these students who are newly-eligible for Cal Grants, colleges estimates that about
300 are undocumented and 500 are documented. Colleges estimate that about 440 undocumented undergraduates will
qualify for roughly $4.3 million in college grants and scholarships. These are rough estimates only, however,
because colleges do not currently collect information about the income or other financial resources of
Q. Will expanding aid to undocumented students result in less aid for documented students?
A. Cal Grants received by undocumented students will not reduce the number or amount of Cal Grant awards available
for other students. For California college grants and scholarships, the impact on other students will be negligible
because undocumented students represent a tiny fraction of the student body. (Colleges estimate that fewer than one-half
of one percent of its students are undocumented.)
Q. Where will funding for California college awards come from?
A. Colleges' financial aid programs are primarily funded from tuition revenue. Colleges set aside about 30 percent of
undergraduate tuition revenue for financial aid. Undocumented students pay into this pool but have been prevented from
receiving any assistance from it. Under AB 131, eligible undocumented students with financial need can apply for aid.
Q. How will undocumented students apply for Cal Grants and college financial aid?
A. California colleges will work with the California Student Aid Commission and other segments to develop the forms and
processes used to determine whether eligible undocumented students qualify for Cal Grants and institutional aid.
Q. Does AB 131 affect all undocumented students?
A. No. AB 131 affects only students who are exempt from paying nonresident tuition under AB 540. To qualify, students
must have attended a California high school for at least three years and graduated from a California high school. In
addition, undocumented students must attest that they have filed an application to legalize their immigration status,
or will file an application as soon as they are eligible to do so.
Top of page
FAQs Related to Parents
Q. What if I don't have my W-2s yet, and my parents' tax returns are not completed?
A. Although you can apply for financial aid any time after January 1 st. you should wait
until you receive your W-2 forms. These provide a fairly accurate estimate of your earnings.
Although you can use estimated information on your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, it is
recommended that you file it using a completed tax return for better accuracy. If necessary,
you may correct the information submitted on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application when you
receive your Student Aid Report, or provide your college with a copy of your tax return transcript
(check with the Financial Aid Office to see if they need your tax return transcript). Also,
if you use estimated information, your Financial Aid eligibility may be revised once you
update your income information. Make sure you submit the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application
before March 2 in order to meet the Cal Grant deadline.
Q. I don't meet any of the criteria for an independent student, but my parents don't
support me. What can I do?
A. If you have an extremely adverse circumstance that prevents you from receiving assistance from
your parents, you should contact the Financial Aid Office. However, you should note that your parents'
unwillingness to provide their financial information or to pay their expected contribution
is not accepted as an adverse circumstance.
Q. My parents don't support me. Do I still need to include their information
on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. If you don't meet one of the federal criteria to be an independent student, you will have
to supply your parents' information on the Financial Aid application. If extenuating family
circumstances prevent you from supplying your parents' information, contact the Financial Aid
Office to discuss your situation.
Q. My parents are separated or divorced. Which parent is responsible for filling out the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. If your parents are separated or divorced, the custodial parent is responsible for filling
out the FAFSA. The custodial parent is the parent with whom you lived the most during the past
12 months. Note that this is not necessarily the same as the parent who has legal custody. If
you did not live with one parent more than the other, the parent who provided you with the most
financial support should fill out the financial aid application. This is probably the parent who
claimed you as a dependent on their tax return. If you have not received any support from either
parent during the past 12 months, use the most recent calendar year for which you received some
support from a parent or lived with either parent. Note, however, that any child support and/or
alimony received from the non-custodial parent must be included on the financial aid application.
Q. My parents are divorced and I am currently living with my father.
He remarried New Year's Day 2011. Do I have to report my stepmother's 2010 income?
A. Yes, even though your father and stepmother were not married in 2010. When he completes
Step Four of the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application, the term "parents" includes your stepmother.
Q. My custodial parent remarried and signed a prenuptial agreement
that absolves the stepparent from financial responsibility for my education. Why does my
stepparent have to provide financial information on the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application?
A. Prenuptial agreements are ignored by FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application. The federal government
and CA Student Aid Commission consider the stepparent a source of support regardless of any
prenuptial agreements to the contrary.
Q. If my parents live and work in another country, do I still need to report their information?
A. Yes, you still have to report your parents' personal and financial information until you meet the
federal criteria for an independent student. Please remember to convert their income information into
U.S. dollars. Unless your parents already have their social security numbers, please list zeros (000-00-0000).
Top of page
Scholarship Related FAQs
Q. When can I apply for scholarships?
A. Most of scholarships are posted on our website www.foothill.edu/aid under the "Scholarships" link.
If you click on the "View Foothill Scholarship Offerings" link, you will enter into a section of
scholarships that are generally advertised in mid-October and have a deadline of mid-February. To
apply for one or more of scholarships from this section, you would need to complete a scholarship
profile and an online scholarship application. Once application has been submitted and the scholarship
deadline has passed, students will be able to track their scholarship status by logging into
If you click on "View Outside Scholarship Donors" link, you will enter into a scholarship section
where Foothill College posts a vast variety of scholarships offered by different agencies. This
application process is different from the one above. Students must follow guidelines of an individual
scholarship and apply for each of them separately.
Third section of the Foothill College Scholarship Page is the "Additional Scholarship Recourses".
This section provides more links and search engines where students may look for additional scholarship funds.
Q. I received a scholarship. Do I have to report it to the Financial Aid Office? How?
A. Yes, you do need to report it to the Financial Aid Office. You may contact the Financial
Aid Office in writing that you have received a scholarship. Make sure that you include the name
of the scholarship and the amount, your name and student ID number or Social Security Number on your correspondence.
Q. I will be receiving a scholarship from my high school. How will this
scholarship be treated in my Financial Aid award?
A. Federal regulations require that all Financial Aid assistance you receive be taken into
consideration when awarding aid. This means that outside scholarships must be used to meet
your financial need. The college will use any outside scholarship you are awarded to replace
an equal amount of loan or work-study funds you would have otherwise received before they
reduce your grant aid.
Q. If I am awarded a scholarship, how will I get the money?
A. Scholarship funds are disbursed to students through Higher One bank. If you have never had
a Higher One Money Card at the time your scholarship is posted on your MyPortal account, our
system will generate one for you and it will be sent to your home address. If you are a U.S.
citizen or an eligible-non-citizen with a social security number, you may activate your card
and select whether you want your scholarship disbursement to go onto the card or to be
transferred to your personal bank account. If you are a student with an AB540 status
who received a social security number through a DACA process, please call 1-866-663-2228
and ask a Higher One Bank representative to change your shared secret (last for digits of
social security number) to 0000. If you are a student who choose not to activate your
Higher One Money Card, a printed check will be mailed to your Financial Aid address
listed on you're My Portal by Higher One bank four weeks after the original disbursement date.
Top of page
Student Loans Related FAQs
Q. What do I do once I take out a student loan?
A. Before taking out your first loan, you must complete an entrance counseling online that
explains your rights and responsibilities as a borrower. Once you take out a loan, it is
important that you keep your college informed of any changes in your address or enrollment
plans. Before you leave college (including withdrawing, transferring or graduating), you
should complete an exit interview online which will cover your payment obligations and the
number of options available to you as a borrower. If at any time you have questions regarding
the repayment of your loans, contact your lender or the Financial Aid Office.
Q. I was offered a loan, but I'm not sure I should take it; how do I decide?
A. Because of the limited gift aid available, students are usually offered one or more educational loans.
Although loans are helpful in meeting the cost of education, they must be repaid with interest. Therefore,
carefully consider the amount you are borrowing. Remember, the amount you borrow this year will be added
to other loans you have or will be taking out in the future. You may want to look at your budget and see
if there are ways you can minimize your borrowing. Also, consider the differences in loans, such as the
interest rate, when that rate is assessed, the amount you'll be borrowing and repayment options.
Q. Can my parents and I both apply for loans?
A. Yes. Loans are available for both parents and students. Parents may borrow for their
undergraduate students through the PLUS loan program. However, the total amount borrowed
(by both you and your parents), cannot exceed the cost of your education.
Q. Are my parents responsible for my educational loans?
A. No. However, parents are responsible for the Federal PLUS loans. Parents will only
be responsible for your educational loans if you are under 18 and they co-sign your loan.
In general you and you alone are responsible for repaying your educational loans.
Q. If I take a leave of absence, do I have to start repaying my loans?
A. Not immediately. The subsidized Stafford loan has a grace period of 6 months before
the student must begin repaying the loan. When you drop below half-time enrollment you
will not have to repay your loan until the grace period is used up. If you use up the
grace period, however, when you graduate you will have to begin repaying your loan immediately.
It is possible to request an extension to the grace period, but this must be done before the
grace period is used up. If your grace period has run out in the middle of your leave of
absence, you will have to start making payments on your student loans.
Top of page
IRS Data Retrieval & Tax Return Transcripts FAQs
Q. What is the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. When completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student
and, if the student is dependent, the student's parent(s) are required to provide
details about their income. For most people, this includes data from their federal
tax returns. To streamline the application process, students and parents may be
eligible to transfer required federal tax data from the Internal Revenue Service
(IRS) to their FAFSA by using the IRS Data Retrieval Tool.
Q. How do I access the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. When completing the online FAFSA at www.fafsa.gov, the IRS Data Retrieval Tool
can be accessed in the "Financial Information" section of the application. It will
only be available if the student or the student's parent(s) report they have already
completed their federal tax return for the indicated year.
Q. Who can use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. After electronically filing your federal taxes, the data should be available to
access through the IRS Data Retrieval Tool within 2 to 3 weeks. It may take from 8
to 11 weeks for the data to be available if the tax return was mailed. There are
certain tax filing statuses, however, that make students or parents ineligible to
use the tool. These statuses include:
- Student or parent filed as Married filing separately
- Student or parent filed as Married Head of Household
- Student or parent filed an amended tax return
- Student or parent filed a Puerto Rican or foreign tax return.
Q. How do I use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
- Enter 4-digit PIN number on the Student or Parent (whichever one is applicable)
Financial Information section of the FAFSA and click Link to IRS.
- Your FAFSA will be saved and you will be transferred to the official IRS website.
- On the IRS website, enter the requested information.
- Once the IRS has validated your or your parent's identification, your
or your parent(s)' tax information will display. You will then have the
option to "Transfer" the tax information directly to your FAFSA.
- If you successfully use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, your or your parent(s)'
tax information will auto-fill into the appropriate questions on your FAFSA
and will be marked with "Transferred from the IRS". Please be aware that if
you make any adjustments to the transferred data, you will invalidate the
data retrieval process.
Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax information if I/they are ineligible to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you are ineligible to use the IRS
Data Retrieval Tool, please look below for guidance on the various ineligible statuses.
- Married Filing Separately: If a person filed taxes as "Married Filing Separately",
they will need to submit IRS tax return transcripts for themselves and their spouse to
the Financial Aid Office.
- Married Head of Household: If a person filed taxes as "Married Head of Household",
please contact the Financial Aid Office to find out what is needed.
- Amended Tax Return: If a person filed an Amended Tax Return (Form 1040X), they
will need to submit a signed copy of the original tax return or tax return transcript,
and a signed copy of the amended tax return (Form 1040X) to the Financial Aid Office.
- U.S. Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return: If a person filed a U.S.
Territory or Commonwealth Tax Return, please contact the Financial Aid Office
to find out what is needed.
- Foreign Tax Return: If a person filed a foreign tax return, they will
need to submit a signed copy of the foreign tax return with a conversion
of information to U.S. dollars. Please contact the Financial Aid Office
for more information.
Q. How do I provide verification of my or my parent(s)' tax
information if I/they choose not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool?
A. If your FAFSA is selected for verification and you and/or your parent(s) choose
not to use the IRS Data Retrieval Tool, you will need to submit IRS tax return
transcripts to the Financial Aid Office.
Q. How do I obtain an IRS Tax Return Transcript?
A. To order an IRS Tax Return Transcript, go to www.IRS.gov and click on the
"Order a Return or Account Transcript" link under the Tools heading, OR call 1-800-908-9946,
OR complete Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T (available at www.IRS.gov) and mail or fax it to the IRS.
Make sure to request the "IRS Tax Return Transcript," not the "IRS Tax Account Transcript."
Use the social security number and date of birth of the first person listed on the IRS income
tax return, and the address on file with the IRS (normally this will be the address used on
the IRS income tax return).
In most cases, for electronic filers, an IRS Tax Return Transcript may be requested
from the IRS within 2 to 3 weeks after the IRS income tax return has been accepted by
the IRS. Generally, for filers of paper IRS income tax returns, the IRS Tax Return
Transcript may be requested within 8 to 11 weeks after the paper IRS income tax return
has been received by the IRS.
Q. What do I do if I've attempted to obtain a tax return
transcript but have been unsuccessful?
- If the transcript request was made using a paper form (Form 4506T-EZ or 4506-T),
you must submit the following three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
- A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
- A signed copy of the IRS response informing the filer that the request was unsuccessful; AND
- Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided.
- If the transcript request was made online, you must submit the following
three documents to the Financial Aid Office:
- A signed copy of the filed tax return; AND
- A signed copy of the screenshot from the official IRS website indicating the request was unsuccessful; AND
- Form 4506-T or 4506T-EZ with third-party information provided.
Top of page
Work-Study Related FAQs
Q. Do I have to work if I am offered a Work-Study job as part of my Financial Aid package?
A. No, you can turn down the offer. The dollar amount offered is the maximum that you would be
eligible to earn in a Federal Work-Study position for the academic year, if you decided to accept
the offer and were hired in a Federal Work-Study job.
Q. What do I need to do in order to get Federal Work-Study?
A. You need to select "I'm interested in work-study" when you complete your FAFSA application.
You also need to complete your Foothill financial aid documents. You will want to do this well in
advance of the academic year because Federal Work-Study is awarded on a first-come, first served
basis. We are often out of funds by June of the preceding academic year. Once you receive a Federal
Work-Study offer for the academic year, you will need to follow the instructions that accompany
that award. That includes meeting with Christine Johnson in Financial Aid to find a job and have
your award accepted. Be sure to pay close attention to deadlines for accepting your award.
Q. Are Work-Study earnings taxable?
A. Yes. The wages you earn from Federal Work-Study are generally reported as wages on your Federal
and California income tax return and become part of your Adjusted Gross Income (AGI). (Those wages
are, however, exempt from FICA Social Security taxes.)
Q. Do I include money earned from Federal Work Study on my FAFSA for the following year?
A. Yes. You include the money earned from a Federal Work-Study job for the calendar year requested on the
FAFSA under money "earned from working." To enable the FAFSA processors to exclude money earned from a
Federal Work-Study job when calculating your income and award, you will also list your Federal Work-Study
earnings on the FAFSA under Step Two: Student's Additional Financial Information.
Top of page
FHDA Money Card Related FAQs
Q. How do I receive my Financial Aid refund/disbursement?
A. Once you submit your supplemental paperwork requested by the Financial Aid Office and
register for classes, an FHDA Money Card will be initiated. Within 1-2 weeks Higher
One bank, will mail a lime green envelope along with the card to the Financial Aid address
listed on the college system and your MyPortal record. Once you receive an envelope from
Higher One, you would need to enter your 16-digit card number, activate your card and choose
Refund Preference through www.fhdamoneycard.com. At the disbursement date, funds disbursed
to you will go through Admissions and Records Office, pay any outstanding balance you may
have and the remaining balance will be deposited into your Higher One card/personal bank account.
Q. Can I receive my Financial Aid funds through a check instead of a Higher One deposit?
A. If you do not activate your FHDA Money Card within 4 weeks after you receive it,
Higher One will send you your Financial Aid funds through a check to the Financial Aid
address that you listed on your MyPortal record.
Q. What should I do if I lose my FHDA Money Card?
A. You should either contact Higher One on-line bank or contact the Financial Aid Office
immediately to request a replacement card. If you previously activated the original card,
there is a $20 fee to replace the card. Your replacement card will be mailed to the financial
aid address that is listed on your MyPortal record.
Top of page
Dependency Override FAQs
Q. My parents have told me that they don't want to provide their information on my FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application; can I
be considered an independent student?
A. The federal government and CA Student Aid Commission create the regulations for
FAFSA and CA Dream Act Application dependent and independent status. Unfortunately,
your parents would need to provide their information on the application unless you can
answer "yes" to one of the Dependency Status questions in Section 2 of the financial
aid application. Check with the financial aid office to see if you can complete the
Board of Governor's Fee Waiver as an independent student.
Q. Can I get a dependency override because my parents won't help me pay for college; they say I have to pay for everything myself?
A. Unfortunately, students whose parents refuse support are not eligible for a dependency override; however the Higher Education Opportunity
Act of 2008 granted that such students may receive Unsubsidized Direct Loans only. Please contact the financial aid office to see what documentation
you will need.
Q. I don't get along with my parents and we refuse to speak with each other; can I do a dependency appeal?
A. . The federal government does not allow colleges to do a dependency override in this situation. You would need to provide documentation
of extraordinary circumstances such as refugees, political asylums, incarcerated parents,
physically abusive relationships, etc.
Q. I want to petition for a dependency override but don't see the petition form on your website. Where do I get the form?
A. You will first have to come by or contact our office and speak to one of our Financial Aid professionals. Once he/she has determined that you are a potential candidate for a dependency override, you will be given a "Request for Dependency Review" form to complete.
Q. What documentation will I need to submit to petition for a dependency override?
A. In order for the Financial Aid Office to consider your request to review your dependency status, you will need to submit the following information/documentation to explain your family circumstances:
- A signed and dated personal statement that is written/typed on the "Request for Dependency Review" form. (*NOTE: This form is only available at the Financial Aid Office.) This statement should detail your current relationship with your parents, including whether or not your parents claimed you on their prior year's federal tax return(s), your last contact with your parents, and whether or not you have asked your parents to assist you in applying for financial aid.
- Copies of any court records, police reports, death certificates, etc... that would support your petition for a dependency override.
- Two written letters from third parties, such as clergy, teachers, counselors, and/or social workers, who know of your family circumstances. Other students and/or friends may or may not be appropriate as independent third parties.
Q. If my dependency override petition is approved, will it carry over to subsequent
academic years at Foothill?
A. No. Because a student's family circumstances, as well as federal and state regulations
can change from one year to the next, it is required that you submit a new "Request
for Dependency Review" each academic year.
Top of page
Special Circumstances FAQs
Q. What types of circumstances do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" with regards to Financial Aid?
A. Examples of circumstances that do not qualify as "Special Circumstances" include but are not limited to the following:
- Student or parent(s) who does not wish to borrow to cover educational expenses
- Parent(s) refusal to contribute to educational expenses
- Matching a financial aid offer from another college
- Parent(s) payment of student loans for older sibling
- Expenses such as credit card debt, wedding expenses, sports, enrichment activities, etc.
- Having a high mortgage/rent /car payment
If you're not sure whether or not your circumstances qualify as "Special Circumstances", please make an appointment to meet with your Financial Aid reviewer.
Q. My financial aid application information shows I was working full-time last year,
but now I'm just working part-time so I can be a full-time student. What can I do?
A. You should stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special Circumstances" appeal.
We will need extra paperwork, including tax transcripts and documentation of the reduction
in pay such as paycheck stubs showing total earnings for the year to date. Special Circumstances
Appeals can be submitted after the end of August.
Q. My parent(s) have been laid off; can I change my financial aid application to show they aren't working now?
A. You need to report your parents' information as requested on the FAFSA or CA Dream
Act Application but should then stop by the Financial Aid Office to request a "Special
Circumstances" appeal. Only the Financial Aid Office can change the information on the financial aid application.
Q. I changed jobs and make much less than I reported on my financial aid application; what can I do?
A. Contact the Financial Aid Office to see if you are eligible to do a "Special Circumstances" appeal, which would allow our
office to override your FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application information.
Q. If I already have a zero expected family contribution (EFC), is it worthwhile for me to do a Special Circumstances petition?
A. No. If you already have a zero EFC then you will receive the maximum amount of financial aid possible and there is no reason for you to do a Special Circumstances petition.
Q. If my Special Circumstances petition is approved, will I get an increase in my financial aid award for the whole academic year or just the remaining quarters?
A. Your financial aid award for the whole academic year will be increased and, if applicable, you will be paid retroactively for the increased amounts from previous quarters.
Top of page
Veterans Benefits FAQs
Q. Do I have to Report My Veterans Education Benefits on the FAFSA?
A. No. You are not required to report veteran's education benefits on the FAFSA. However, you do
need to report your previous year's income, including non-educational veteran benefits.
Q. What Happens to My Financial Aid if I am Called to Active Duty?
A. You will not lose Financial Aid eligibility if you take a leave of absence from school. Future aid
will not be disbursed; therefore, you will not be responsible for paying back any funds. Please notify
our office when you return so that we can prepare an award package that reflects your current status.
However, in order to receive Financial Aid in following years, students must apply every year.
Therefore, if you come back to college the following year as apposed to the current year, you would
need to re-apply for Financial Aid by completing a FAFSA.
Your loans will automatically enter repayment because you will be enrolled less than half-time.
To prevent this, complete a Military Deferment Request Form on the https://www.myedaccount.com/
Q. What Scholarships are Available for Veterans?
A. Visit the http://foothill.edu/aid/campusscholarships.php
page for more information on the scholarship program.
Top of page